Tuesday, February 01, 2011

How to run the Little Miami Triathlon Tips

For those interested - here's my "How to run the Little Miami Triathlon" Tips:

Night Before the Race
- Charge iPhone and external battery (for GPS)
- Take Singulair / Claritin D (Allergies) 
- Put race clothes out
- I wear triathlon bike shorts and a cycling jersey but I think most people wear running shorts and a running shirt

Morning Before the Race (At Home)
- Wear sports socks (not cotton!)
- Put lubricant on thighs
- Bring CLIFs Shot Bloks or GU
- Bring Race number and packet!!
- Bring heart rate monitor (polar HRM)
- Take Advil and Potassium
- Fill up bike water bottle(s)
- Bring bike helmet and bike pump and filled water bottle for bike

Arriving at Fort Ancient in the Morning
- Be sure to arrive at least 90 minutes before your start time
- You will have to park at Fort Ancient which is a 5-10 min walk from the start of the triathlon
- Fort Ancient is where you will leave your bike
- Be sure to pump up your bike tires to the recommended pressure (should be listed on your tire)
- Roughly 120 psi for Road Bike, 50-75 psi for Hybrid tires
- Put 3 - 4 CLIFs Shot Bloks in Jersey + a granola bar
- You will then have to walk your bike from the parking area down towards the back of Fort Ancient towards killer hill (don’t forget your bike helmet and bike water bottle)
- Park your bike in an area you will remember (near the road by a tree, etc)
- If it looks like rain cover your bike seat / rear gears with a towel
- Bring everything else you need for the triathlon with you and head down killer hill to Morgan’s Canoe (go down the hill and take a right on the trail to Morgan’s)

Walking to Morgan’s Canoe Livery
- Be sure to arrive at least 50-60 minutes before your start time
- Tank up on free water bottles, bananas and granola bars
- This is usually a good place to hit the restroom (porta-potties out front)
- Go to the canoe house and get a life preserver and a canoe paddle
- Your paddle should be long enough to reach your chin when standing up
- Get your canoe with ~ 30 minutes before your start time
- Female / Female teams have the option to use fiberglass canoes which are typically viewed to be lighter / faster
- If you decide to go with the aluminum (metal) canoes be sure the bottom isn’t dented or your canoe will lean to one side
- With ~ 20 minutes before your start time - Carry your canoe to the start and begin to line up by start time
- If you can get as far LEFT as you can in line – you will be further downstream
- While waiting to start this is a good time to eat your first Shot Blok or GU or granola bar
- Bring a water bottle into the canoe – the next water station is on the run and 60 minutes of canoeing is a lot

A Discussion on Backup Shoes
- Some people will tip over their canoe, and may be concerned about getting their shoes wet
- You can try the plastic bag over the shoes technique pictured (though I don’t think it would work too well)
- Or you could wear a crappy pair of shoes in the canoe and put your “good shoes” and socks in a plastic bag that would keep your shoes dry if you tip over
- After running the half-marathon in the rain I no longer bring a change of shoes for the canoe – we haven’t tipped yet and if my shoes do get wet I know I’ll be fine to run as long as I don’t wear cotton socks (cotton causes blisters when wet)
- Also the transition time to change shoes is a few minutes

START of the race – Canoeing (6 miles)
- Bring WATER in canoe!
- Canoeing is a little bit tricky, you could end up zig-zagging all the way down stream (this will take some practice)
- The person in the BACK is the key person to steer the canoe, it is their job to make sure you are going straight
- The person in the FRONT is the power - their job is to just paddle straight forward and alternate sides of the canoe strokes to make sure you don’t try to turn the canoe from the front (we do 3 paddles on each side in the front and repeat)
- The person in the back should steer the canoe left or right without dragging the paddle (so just by paddling to either side) – try to keep the canoe in “fast water” and if you hit tiny rapids put yourself in the middle of the “V” formed by the water, do not paddle into “stagnant” water that isn’t moving, the current is your friend!
- In general for both team members - Take long easy strokes out away from canoe, don’t rush the paddle stroke while the paddle is in the water
- Watch out for rocks or branches, if you hit one you are likely to tip over!

End of canoeing - 1st Transition
- Someone will help you pull your canoe to shore, leave the life vest and paddle in the canoe
- Stop at the bathroom if needed
- If you brought a change of shoes, change here and then put your “old” shoes in your bag and put it in the wagon – they will take all of the shoes to the finish for you. The more distinctive your shoe bag (like pink) the better you will be able to find it at the finish in the HUGE pile (could save you 10 minutes of looking)

The Run (5 miles mostly uphill)
- The run starts on a tiny trail to the right which takes you through 100 feet of woods onto the road
- A cop should be there to help you cross the street, then it is mostly uphill for the first 2 miles or so
- The first water break area is at mile 1 – which seems like forever if you didn’t drink in the canoe
- This is a good area for a GU or Shot Blok or granola bar
- After 2 miles there is a short down hill part, then another mile or so uphill
- The last mile is on the trail and it is flat – but it is longer than you think (1.25 miles or so)

Killer Hill (0.5 miles up a stupid trail)
- WALK up the hill. I can’t think of a better strategy, I tried to run the hill the first year and LOST! It’s about 5 minutes of walking up hill and you’d rather be feeling good at the top for the biking than kill yourself on the hill
- Eat a CLIF Shot Blok or GU near the top of the hill (so you can get water at the bike)

2nd Transition
- Once you reach the top of killer hill, you are at the bike area in Fort Ancient again
- May be a good bathroom stop
- Be sure to put your helmet on before biking
Biking (18 miles)
- RESET bike computer
- The bike ride is mostly flat with a few turns that cops help you navigate. WATCH OUT FOR CARS at intersections.
- There is always a long leg or two into the wind that is a pain, only thing you can do is crouch low and keep a steady pedal going
- Not much else to note on the bike ride – it is pretty flat, if there are smalls hills they are early in the biking

The Cobbles!
- NEW in the Fall of 2010 there is a ~2 mile section of the bike right at the end which is basically a gravel road. We call it the cobbles because we want to be on the Tour de France - but on a road bike it feels like cobblestones. 
- The best I can say about the gravel road is to just keep peddling. If you try to coast on this road you will be amazed how quickly you will slow down. In general it is a tougher section of biking because of the road resistance. (UPDATE: The road surface is officially called tar & pitch and over the past year or so it has smoothed out reasonably well and not an issue for a road bike).

- When you pull back into Fort Ancient you will have to get off your bike and walk / run it across the finish line

- There is usually a free gift at the picnic, so even if you don’t want to eat, go there and get your gift!
- The food at the picnic is usually pretty good, and the live band has been good too!


Faithfouryou said...

It's my first - so this has been really helpful! Thanks so much for sharing! :-)

Faithfouryou said...

This will be my first! Thanks so much for the tips - very informative!!

Anonymous said...

In the Fall 2011 race, there was no gravel road to bike on at the end. This was a nice relief. Otherwise, I agree with everything posted.

Tom said...

The "gravel road" is officially called "Tar and Pitch" and it was still there though it has smoothed out since it was put in.

I have a picture of the surface in my FALL '11 wrap up here:


Jen Burns said...

Thank you so much for posting these tips. I found your blog the day before the 2012 Fall Little Miami Triathlon (my first time competing in it, and first tri ever!). This really helped me visualize how my day would go. Thanks again!